Judith Weir to be announced as Master of the Queen’s music

The opera composer is set to succeed Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in the historic post

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Judith Weir to be announced as Master of the Queen’s music

Judith Weir is to be announced by Buckingham Palace as the first ever female Master of the Queen’s music, taking over from Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

Weir has composed several acclaimed operas, including A Night at the Chinese Opera and Blond Eckbert, and was resident composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s. In 2007 she was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music in recognition of her contribution to British musical life.

Her works have taken inspiration from medieval history, the Chinese Yuan Dynasty and Scottish and Icelandic folklore.

The role of master is described as ‘the musical equivalent of poet laureate’. It comes with no fixed obligations, but the master may ‘choose to produce compositions to mark royal or state occasions if he or she wishes to do so.’

The historic title can be traced back to 1625 and previous masters have included Sir Arnold Bax and Sir Edward Elgar who wrote a ‘nursery suite’ for Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in 1931.

Anya Hancock